Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mr. Music ~ Jerry Osborne

I am continuing our new feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 23rd year of syndication (1986-2008), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: Over the years I have seen you cure some challenging cases of earworms. Does the medical profession have a name for that area of specialization?

Tricky and creative wording has always appealed to me, and two examples lodged in my brain require your expertise.

One, by a male singer, has a string of rhyming words that all end in “zing.” I recall two of them to be “analyzing” and “criticizing.”

What is this title and the sequence of the “zing” words?

The other is by a woman who uses this same line twice in a row, yet each with somewhat different meaning: “I have to accept the fact that I have to accept the fact that,” etc.

Hurry, before these worms begin to multiply.
—Sandy Frye, York, Pa.

DEAR SANDY: The wormy examples threatening to fry the Frye brain (since you like wacky wording) are written and recorded by two geniuses of the music industry: Ray Stevens and Donna Fargo.

In his 1970 hit, “Have a Little Talk with Myself” (Monument 1171), Stevens lists some steps for self-improvement.

Here are the zingers in the order cited: analyzing; recognizing; itemizing; criticizing; realizing; organizing; summarizing; and ostracizing.

Your second melodious invertebrate is Donna Fargo's “It Do Feel Good” (ABC 17541). Released in 1975, this tune became her biggest hit of that year.

In it she muses: “I've got to accept the fact that I have to accept the fact that, love goes through changes just like we do.”

Two other instances of amusing wording just came to me, so let me share them:

In “Rio Bravo,” Dean Martin sings “By the river Rio Bravo, I walk all alone, and I wonder as I wander.”

Then there is Loretta Lynn, whose autobiographical “Coal Miner's Daughter” includes “I remember well, the well where I drew water.”

Remember, you read this here first: one who specializes in the treatment and eradication of troublesome earworms is an otologi-helminthologist.

Now I have to order new business cards.

DEAR JERRY: On Burt Bacharach's first chart hit, “Saturday Sunshine” (1963), the only artist credited on the record is “Burt Bacharach.”

Yet the lead vocal is by a young boy, accompanied by female backup singers.

I have never seen anything that identifies the boy, and later issues of the song are either instrumentals or have Burt Bacharach singing the song.

Can it be no one knows this kid?
—George Stoken, Moline, Ill.

DEAR GEORGE: In this age of information, you wouldn't think so. Yet …

Knowing there is not much about Burt that isn't covered online, I jumped on, a discussion forum that is all Burt all the time.

Turns out there are dozens of Bachoholics wondering the same thing.

Here is an excerpt from a post from steveo_1965:

“This is a piece of trivia that has been bugging me for years. The only way we will ever know is if someone, such as that particular person, or one the other singers reads this and comes forward to enlighten us.”

Okay, so far no one seems to know the “Saturday Sunshine” singer, but that was before we took the case.

Some may recall a few years ago when we unearthed Mike Redway, the uncredited singer of “Casino Royale” (film version) — coincidentally another Bacharach composition.

We have received unsolicited comments and helpful details from countless recording artists and others in the industry. It would not be a surprise to find the mystery singer's name in my inbox one day soon.

IZ ZAT SO? From 1952 through 1990, Burt Bacharach either wrote or co-wrote 101 Top 100 hit songs.

Two-thirds of those (66) made their way into the top 40, and 28 reached the Top 10.

And these six went all the way to No. 1: “This Guy's in Love with You” (Herb Alpert, 1968); “Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head” (B.J. Thomas, 1969); “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (Carpenters, 1970); “Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” (Christopher Cross, 1981); “That's What Friends Are For” (Dionne Warwick and Friends: Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, 1985); “On My Own” (Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald, 1986).

With a resume like this we'd better add Burt to today's list of anointed geniuses.

Copyright 2009 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

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